I was puzzled to read about the ban on the Better Beer Festival in KL next month, which has now become world news just a week after the prime minister urged Trump to support moderate and progressive governments around the world.
Why puzzled? Because in 2013, many Penangites can clearly remember how free beer and free food were made available at numerous 1Malaysia dinners in the state in the run-up to the general election that year.
Open air dinners were held almost every other night in different parts of town back then, with clowns, angpows, free food and free beer. It was party-time almost every night!
Yes, many people, non-Muslims I imagine, made a beeline for those free beers, some of them exotic brands like 3 Amigos. But as I recall there was no outbreak of vice and drunkenness on the streets despite the plentiful supply of free beer.
The only ‘shocking’ thing that happened was many snapped up those free beers and free food and then soberly voted against the BN in record numbers!
So what has changed between then and now to further erode the rights and choices of ordinary Malaysians, particularly the non-Muslims?